Virginia town highlights greener lifestyle through home tours

On September 16, residents in the town of Vienna, Virginia opened up their doors and welcomed neighbors onto their properties to show off their energy efficient homes.

For the second year in a row, the Vienna Sustainability Home & Garden Tour went off without a hitch, as 11 families throughout the town welcomed visitors.

The majority of the homes featured on the tour were located in the Ayr Hill district of town, though larger properties on the outskirts of Vienna also took part in the event. Visitors were invited by the Vienna Township Parks and Recreation Department to visit as many homes as they'd like between noon and 4 p.m.

Many of the residences featured had extensive gardens that were filled with native flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs. Visitors told the Vienna/Oakton Connection, a local online news source, that they were most curious about tips and tricks garden owners used to prevent deer and local fauna from destroying their plants.

The featured properties also showcased innovations that increased energy efficiency inside and outside of the home. The Guerres, whose garden was a popular destination throughout the tour, had a rainwater retention system in place that they use to hydrate the garden and for domestic cleaning.

Several of the gardens are so plentiful that their owners have been able to sell their produce to local markets, with some even donating food to area schools. Aside from profiting from their green lifestyles, many homeowners save significantly on their monthly bills by living a more energy efficient lifestyle.

A home inspection can be the first step for homeowners aspiring to follow the example of these Vienna residents. By conducting an energy audit, residents can learn ways to save on their monthly utility payments.